August 30, 2004

Tibet: UNICEF fears widening Poverty Gap in Tibet

The United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF)has said its Executive Director will visit Tibet to check progress of health, nutrition and education saying although conditions have improved in recent years, "the growth has occurred at a significantly slo
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The United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF)has said its Executive Director Carol Bellamy will visit Tibet to check progress of health, nutrition and education saying although conditions have improved in recent years, "the growth has occurred at a significantly slower pace than in the East, creating fears of a widening poverty gap."


In a press statement on August 27, 2004, UNICEF calls for increased focus on reduction of disparities in key indicators of child well being between different regions.

Following is the full text of the UNICEF press statement.

Executive Director Visits Tibet to Check Progress of Health, Nutrition and

Education

BEIJING, 27 August 2004 -- The Chinese economic miracle which has catapulted hundreds of millions out of poverty is still a distant reality for China's western regions. In this part of the world's most swiftly developing nation, rural income is half, child mortality is double and maternal death -- in some districts -- is 5-10 times higher than the east.

Carol Bellamy, Executive Director of the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF), will tour projects which the Government of China and her agency have put in place to address the most severe problems facing Chinese children and women. UNICEF calls for increased focus on reduction of disparities in key indicators of child well being between different regions.

Although conditions in Western China, and in Tibet, have dramatically improved in recent years, growth has occurred at a significantly slower pace than in the East, creating fears of a widening poverty gap. In Tibet, major progress has occurred in the rate of attended hospital delivery. Although still low, current coverage of 28% represents a doubling over the last five years. Infant mortality has declined by more than two thirds. Basic education enrollment has climbed dramatically to 92%, approaching the national average of 98%. However, only 31% of children in Tibet have access to the compulsory 9 years of education.

Following her visit to Tibet, Ms. Bellamy will travel to Beijing to consult with major Government counterparts on progress toward the Millennium Development Goals and on strategies for promotion of child rights. She will launch the Vitamin and Mineral Deficiency "Damage Assessment Report" with the Ministry of Health on 3 September, calling attention to the critical role that micro-nutrient nutrition plays in reducing disease and promoting full productivity. Ms Bellamy will also travel to Hong Kong to launch with Cathay Pacific Airlines the "Change for Good" programme for 2004.

Source: Phayul